Mapping cemeteries on NAMES IN STONE is turning into a popular project for Boy Scouts for their Eagle Scout Service Projects.
One such Scout is Brandon, who mapped the Uintah Town Cemetery in Utah for his project. With 12 Scouts, leaders, and other helpers under Brandon's leadership, this project was a fantastic team effort.
Brandon started with a paper map from the cemetery sexton. Then he divided the cemetery up into sections and created a spreadsheet with the information from all the different sections. On the day of mapping, he gave each group of three mappers a spreadsheet. They filled in the information from the headstones, as well as took a picture of each headstone.
Brandon and the others learned a lot about the Uintah Cemetery during their project. Brandon says, "There were many family plots. Many of the families had graves around 1919 (which as I learned in history class, was the time of the influenza outbreak) with children who died the day they were born, or when they were a few months or years old."
Some other interesting things that Brandon and his group learned:
- "There were over 40 Bybees, the most common last name by far."
- "Some headstones were only labled with initials, or 'Baby'."
- "There were 8 unmarked graves that the sexton had accidentally dug up."
- "It is suspected that many (of the interred) died working on the railroad."
Brandon continues, "I enjoyed my project very much. It was very interesting connecting husbands, wives, and children together. I remember there was one family that I connected three generations together.
"I enjoy learning all kinds of history. It was really interesting when I found out that a ton of deaths happened around the time of the (influenza) epidemic."
Brandon's mom, Sharon, agrees. "Brandon's project was a really interesting experience. Our family took several trips to the cemetery prior to the mapping so we could get a feel of the layout. It was so interesting to feel a special connection to the people buried there.
"Many were pioneers from the early and mid-1800s and there are several generations of families. You could see a history of their family just from the headstones; how many babies and children died, who had more than one wife, etc. And as we entered the data onto the Names in Stone website, we definitely felt the spirit of genealogy work."
Brandon and his group spent nearly 100 hours mapping the Uintah Town Cemetery and entering the information on the NAMES IN STONE website. Brandon has a few tips for others who are interested in mapping a cemetery on NAMES IN STONE.
- Have a central "base" in the cemetery during the project, with a water cooler, extra cameras, and a universal map. This is a place where teams can check in and find out what section they should work on next.
- When you map a cemetery, take it one section at a time. Don't bunch it all up. If you do it all together, it gets confusing.
- Assign small groups to small patches, and keep them busy.
- Choose a cemetery that's not too large -- 200 to 250 would be ideal.
Here's Brandon's finished cemetery map on NAMES IN STONE. Click here to take your virtual tour!